Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Food Prices

Photo of Thomas GouldThomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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180. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the role his Department is taking in preventing sharp increases in the cost of food both at production and point of sale. [16954/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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The agri-food sector is facing one of the most significant challenges in recent years, arising from Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine.

I am working with my Government colleagues as well as our EU partners to implement appropriate responses to those challenges. This includes ensuring that food security is maintained for EU citizens, for the Ukrainian people and in the wider global context.

At EU level, I have emphasised the importance of being ready to respond in a comprehensive and flexible manner, and to maintain functioning supply chains during what will be an uncertain and volatile period ahead. I have also highlighted concerns about the availability and price of animal feed and fertilisers. The comprehensive and transparent sharing of available information is also important.

On 23rdMarch, the EU Commission announced a range of supports to safeguard food security and reinforce the resilience of EU food systems. This included a support package of €500 million to support farmers most affected; this includes €15.8 million for Ireland. Other measures include safety net measures to support specific markets and a temporary Crisis Framework (TCF) for state aid.

In the Department, I have taken a number of steps both to support our agri-food sector.

On 7th March, I launched the opening of applications for and Exceptional Payment Scheme for the pig sector (PEPS), an exchequer funded scheme of €7 million to support commercial pig farmers in Ireland. Payments have started issuing to applicants.

On 22nd March, I announced a targeted intervention package for the tillage sector and a multi-species sward initiative, worth over €12 million, to support Irish farmers.

As well as these financial supports, I have put in place a Rapid Response Team, chaired by the Secretary General of my Department, to actively monitor the impacts on agri-food supply chains and to contribute to the whole of Government response to this crisis.

I have established a National Fodder and Food Security Committee, tasked to prepare an industry response to the emerging crisis in feed, fodder, fertiliser and other inputs, and to develop contingency plans.

We continue to contribute to the whole of Government consideration and response to the Ukraine crisis. I am committed to supporting our farm families and their businesses through this challenging period.


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